Here is the advance story sample we went over in class. This upcoming assignment will Story # 2 and it’s due the week we come back from Spring Break. More details were included in a previous post.
Below is the original calendar listing for this event. You’ll find something like this on the university’s news page, a press release, a flier, or as the subject of an email. This is just a starting point, as it’s not written as a story and there are a bunch of relevant details missing. That’s where you (the reporter) come in. Your job is to flush a story out like this by interviewing a primary source, in this case the event organizer, and using trusted sources for background.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month will be kicking on April 4 with the first Teal Tuesday of the month and a talk by Wagatwe Wanjuki, a national campus anti-violence advocate who appeared in the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground
Teal Tuesdays is a national social activism campaign that encourages people to wear teal clothing and/or teal ribbons to demonstrate their support for survivors of sexual violence. Teal ribbons will be available at multiple locations on campus for students, faculty, and staff to wear to spread awareness about sexual violence, demonstrate support for survivors of sexual assault, and promote open dialogue and action to end rape culture.
Wanjuki’s talk “Back to Basics: Learning the Truth About Sexual Assault and Rape Culture” will begin at 7 p.m. in Hodson 110. Many other events are planned during the month to spread awareness about sexual violence and promote open dialogue and action to end rape culture.
More information about sexual assault awareness events at Towson University is available on the Counseling Center’s website.
This event is clearly newsworthy. It features someone prominent and has impact because this issue of sexual assault affects a large number of people nationwide. There is also conflict, because many feel not enough is being done to combat this issue. The proximity characteristic is of course that this event is taking place here at Towson. Lead with what is most newsworthy! Be objective. Use primary and trusted sources. We talked about this in class. No Wikipedia. Don’t even trust details in another writer’s story. This is all original content. Attribute where necessary. See below for a sample story. Notice how it’s structured and organized. This piece might be longer than what you hand in, and that’s OK. Just include what you feel are the relevant details. No need to promote the event either. Let the facts tell the story and compel the reader.
HEADLINE GOES HERE
BYLINE GOES HERE
Nationally-recognized writer and activist Wagatwe Wanjuki will come to Towson University on April 4 to talk about combating sexual assault and rape culture on college campuses.
One in five women in college are sexually assaulted, according to the latest statistics from RAINN, a nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization. However, only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators.
The event, hosted by the university’s Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU), will kick off Towson’s programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Teal Tuesdays, a national social activism campaign that encourages people to wear teal clothing or ribbons to demonstrate support for survivors of sexual violence.
Wanjuki is a national advocate against sexual violence on college campuses. Her work was prominently featured in CNN’s 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground. The film, which earned two Emmy nominations, follows undergraduate rape survivors pursuing both their education and justice, despite ongoing harassment and the devastating toll on them and their families. Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, The Hunting Ground has been screened at the White House and hundreds of college campuses across the country. The documentary has also inspired new sexual assault laws in New York and California, and changes in campus policies.
A survivor of sexual violence herself, Wanjuki has spoken openly about her time at Tufts University in the mid-2000s. After she reported her assailant, the school failed to act, leaving her feeling devastated and alone. In 2009, she launched a campaign for a better sexual assault policy at Tufts University and has continued to work for a world free of gender-based violence.
In July 2016, Wanjuki co-founded the anti-rape organization Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture. The group’s inaugural campaign, #JustSaySorry, received international media attention with its first livestreaming video, which racked up over 7 million views in one week. The video featured Wanjuki burning a Tufts University sweatshirt on Facebook.
As a sought-out writer on social issues, Wanjuki has been published in various media outlets including BuzzFeed, Feministing, Upworthy, Cosmopolitan.com, and The New York Times. Her commentary on sexual violence and related issues appearances include The Daily Show, CNN, and MSNBC. She’s also a sought-out speaker on the college lecture circuit.
Anna Hasche, the outreach chair for SARU, said that inviting speakers like Wanjuki to speak on campus is important because they bring a respected voice to timely issues.
“There’s not a lot of public healing spaces or even public forums to talk about this issue,” Hasche said. “Assault isn’t talked about enough, but also, when it does happen, when you’re recovering, the way society makes you feel about it, the messages you receive are rooted in shame.”
Hasche said that Wanjuki was a good speaker to start Sexual Assault Awareness Month because her story introduced many different themes the group wanted to highlight, particularly the intersectionality of the experiences of survivors.
“Intersectionality is definitely really important,” Hasche said. “With the variety of stories, it’s important to hear that you’re not hearing this one narrative. Generally the stereotypical victim is some little, traditionally attractive white girl at a frat party, and then you’re just excluding so many people from that narrative, and that’s really not working to build a community or making people feel supported.”
Hasche said that the other events hosted by SARU this month will build on the themes introduced by Wanjuki. Some of these events include a workshop for the national Monument Quilt project, a Title IX educational event, and an alcohol and consent campaign at Spring Fair. She said that through these events, SARU hopes to provide a space for discussion and healing for survivors and allies alike.
“Like [Wanjuki] was talking about, finding your voice,” Hasche said. “That’s definitely something a lot of people, especially survivors, struggle with, and so I think events like this really create a space physically for that to happen and promote that both emotionally and also just through dialogue.”
Wanjuki’s talk, “Back to Basics: Learning the Truth About Sexual Assault and Rape Culture,” is free and open to the public. It will be held at 7 p.m. in Hodson Hall room 110.
For more information about sexual assault awareness events at Towson University, go to PUT URL HERE OF THE SITE YOU WANT TO POINT PEOPLE TO.